This week we made one of our ‘escape’ trips back to England to see our kids. Last year we bought a flat in London, in an area which none of us know and where we really didn’t know anyone. On our first venture out to check out a local restaurant we had a very nice meal in the Turkish restaurant closest to our house. As we were finishing our meal the waiter asked where where we were from and as soon as my husband said ‘Greece’ they dragged the chef from the kitchen – a Greek gentleman called Apostolis. Apostolis has since become not only the caretaker of my son’s food supply, keeping him in fresh food instead of MacDonald’s on a daily basis, but when one of our new beds broke he turned out to be a carpenter as well.
This time we arrived at Luton, having booked a minicab to take us into London. The driver rang when we landed and I could have sworn he said ‘Yassas’… of course he was Greek and chatted for an hour on the way home about how much he wanted to return to live in Greece and how lucky we are not to live in London. We parted on excellent terms with the promise from him that should we recommend him to any of our friends visiting London he would look after them ‘like family’.
The next day we were on our first trip to Tesco and a small group of people were selling the Socialist Worker in the street and asking for people to sign a petition against the government. A closet revolutionary, my husband of course agreed, and the lady asked where he was from… of course she was Greek, so I went into Primark while they had a long conversation about the current state of the world. We now have a standing invitation to go and say hello whenever we are in Hackney.
Today we ventured up to Camden Market in search of a few antique bits and pieces for the house. Nothing to buy – all designed to tempt the unsuspecting tourist apart from one wonderful shop of furniture, pictures etc. and I was wildly enthusiastic until I looked a bit closer and realised that they bought their stock from some of the same suppliers as we do at Corfu Homestore – only they must have slightly higher profit margins than we do (or Camden is considerably more affluent) as a mirror we sold for 159 euros was priced at £295.00 and the more I looked the more I realised that most of their stock was from our suppliers – with the main difference that their profit margin is about 5 times as much as ours!
Absolutely nothing to buy so we decided to cheer ourselves up with our favourite walk along the south bank of the Thames, past the Tate Modern, National Theatre and, since as usual in London on Sundays a lot of the tube systems are not operating, we called a cab service, the largest in London with a fleet of 2,500 cars.
After a few minutes of discussion with my daughter about her schedule for the coming months, so that we could actually plan to occasionally be in the same place at the same time, the driver said ‘Excuse me miss, what work do you do?’ and when she explained that she was a ‘booker’ for bands and DJs, he said ‘I don’t suppose you know my nephew…he has a club in Manchester!’. Of course she did, so we had a lengthy discussion about nephew, stepdaughter (also involved in the club) ex-partner who Hannah happened to have lunch with in Sweden last week, etc etc.
Small world – absolutely!